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Dome Valley victim's life forever changed

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 26/05/2017 Ben Leahy

The young woman left for dead in the Dome Valley after being brutally bashed and humiliated in a terrifying 22 hour ordeal, says her life has been changed "irreversibly".

The then 19-year-old was kidnapped and held captive in May 2016 where she was beaten and sexually violated before suffering a brutal final assault in the Dome Valley.

There Wayne Blackett attempted to break her neck before sending at least 10 blows with a hammer crashing into her head.

Julie-Ann Torrance and Nicola Jones were nearby, chortling with laughter and Jones even held a torch to allow Blackett to see in the dark.

On Friday in the High Court at Auckland, Justice Christian Whata sentenced Torrance to 16 years and seven months in prison and Jones to 13 years and one month jail.

Blackett was sentenced to 12 years and seven months in prison.

Prosecutors said the woman's survival was "nothing short of a miracle".

Despite the hammer blows fracturing her skull and depressing her brain by 2cm, she was found unconscious, yet alive, on a roadside the morning after the attacks..

She woke in hospital one week later, temporarily paralysed on her body's right side and needing to learn to walk and talk again.

In her victim impact statement, read in court by Prosecutor Brian Dickey, the woman said it ate her up inside knowing she could never again be the bubbly, vivacious young woman she once was.

After spending six weeks in a brain trauma clinic and undertaking counselling, she said her recovery remained ongoing one year later with the hammer blows leaving permanent holes in her skull.

"The life threatening head injuries have changed the way I think and feel," she said, describing how her brain now had trouble matching her actions with her emotions.

"I laugh when something is sad and cry when something is funny."

During the trial, the court heard the attacks started because Jones became angry with the young woman early last year, believing she had slept with her partner.

This boiled over in two attacks in April and May 2016, when the young woman was first assaulted and robbed in a former friend's Newmarket flat, before one month later being held captive for about 22 hours in a West Auckland home.

There she was beaten and sexually violated.

Jones, Torrance and Blackett then drove the woman to Conical Peak Road where Blackett took a hammer and delivered at least 10 blows to her head, causing multiple fractures and depressing her brain by 2cm, prosecutors said.

"It was an execution style [attempted] murder of a vulnerable young girl," Judge Whata said.

Torrance and Jones' sentences included time for their guilt in also robbing, kidnapping and attacking the young woman

He said the level of violence and depravity in the attacks set this case apart from others he had read about and must have been "terrifying" for the young woman.

Three others, Jaclyn Keates, Michelle Blom and Cameron Hakeke have each already been sentenced to more than two years for their roles in the attacks.

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